Monday, January 12, 2009

What started as a group of working artists sharing information and painting mediums has grown into a business dedicated to reintroducing traditional artist's materials that had become almost impossible to find. Studio Products are made as traditional artist's materials used to be made, by artists for artists.In recent times, artists have become yet another group for marketers to explore and, at times, exploit. Traditional materials have always been more costly to make, relying up more careful selection of natural materials and more labor in producing them, usually in small batches. On the other hand, modern synthetics and petrochemical products have been introduced into the artist's market, offered solely to boost profits, not improve your painting.This is a list of some of the artist’s materials Studio Products handles and manufacture, along with some information on uses and applications.

Amber Gum a concentrated solution for mixing with oils and resin varnishes to make emulsions. Simply whisk or beat the Amber Gum and the oils or resins together (approximately equal parts Gum to oleoresinous materials) and either mix with dry pigment or tube oils to make emulsion paint. Perfect for lean, but fully pigmented, underpainting. Amber gum is a water-soluble form of cyanomethylcellulose and is a pale amber color. Studio Products offers an improved CMC for use in the Technique Mixte taught by Patrick Betaudier and others.

Beeswax [16oz. tin] pastilles of pure white beeswax are melted and mixed with mediums and varnishes to reduce gloss and improve handling. Beeswax is the most permanent of all painting mediums. Dry pigments can be mixed into the melted wax to produce the jewel-like colors of encaustic painting. Beeswax is one of the most often adulterated materials. Studio Products imports beeswax directly from an apiary in Germany.

Bistre Ink genuinely aged bistre ink made from beech wood soot and crushed oak galls (ox galls) and boiled for ten hours. The ink is then aged and purified for a year before bottling. The drawn line grows warmer and takes on a golden quality as it ages. This is the brown ink of the Dutch masters, made in exactly the way they made it.

Black Oil [5oz. bottle] Special Aged linseed oil and laboratory-grade litharge heated for hours until clear, produces a quick drying oil that can be used alone or with Double Mastic to make Maroger's medium. Adds great handling qualities to oil paint. Because of the lead content, Studio Products Black Oil greatly improves the strength of the dried paint film. Black Oil lightens upon drying.

Canada Balsam [1oz. jar] the finest of all the balsams (others are Venice Turpentine, Olio d' Abezzo, etc.), reasonable open time, crystal clear, balsams are the important ingredient in the paintings of Vermeer and the Little Masters. Canada balsam lightly fuses colors and makes them jewel-like, drying to a perfect gloss. Studio Products sells the same optically pure grade used in making microscope slides.

Cats-Eye Retouch Varnish a faster-drying retouch and barrier varnish. Made from Mata Kucing (Cats Eye) resin, a fossilized Damar from Indonesia, it is much harder and less sticky than the usual Damar. Studio Products Cats-Eye Retouch Varnish is the perfect barrier coat to use between layers of paint, hard enough to resist being dissolved yet flexible. Cats-Eye Retouch Varnish has a slightly cloudy cast, which clears up drying, leaving the colors more brilliant, and unifies than before. Perfectly safe over even the most delicate glazes, acts as a barrier coat to protect fresh paint and for unifying the surface. Many artists use Studio Products Cats-Eye Retouch Varnish as a final coat. While not as substantial as a picture varnish, the artist need not wait the requisite six months before varnishing and exhibiting the painting.

Congo Copal Concentrate [1oz. bottle] the wonderful handling quality of true Congo copal, holds the finest detail and dries to a rich sheen. Studio Products Congo copal improves handling and can be made to dry quickly with the addition of Lead Napthanate. Mixed with Flake White, it produces those Rembrandt-like "ropes." Mix a bit more and the paint becomes fluid. Mix even more and the paint becomes thick and pastose. Slowly cooked into oil. Unlike varnishes made with softer "Manilla" copal, no solvents are used in making this varnish. Because of the decades of violence in the area, genuine Congo copal has been unavailable. Studio Products was fortunate in being able to buy the stock of "run" copal from a violin manufacturer. This is at least fifty years old and the real thing. Studio Products makes the varnish in the traditional method. First the fossil copal is melted ("run") at high heat. It is then crushed and gently cooked into linseed oil and allowed to settle. The resulting varnish is unlike anything available to the public. Some manufacturers sell "copal" varnish that is either rebottled alkyd resin or soft Manilla copal dissolved in harsh solvents.

Damar [11oz. bag in a 1qt. paint can] just fill the can with turpentine (we recommend our triple-distilled rather than that in hardware stores), cover and leave for a day or tw. Remove the muslin filter bag and you have one quart of the finest concentrated Damar varnish. This concentrate is what is needed for making mediums, not like the thinned-out bottles sold in art stores. Those are mostly solvent and little resin. As a serious artist you will want to make your own Damar varnish in this concentrated strength. Can be diluted with turpentine to commercial strengths. Do not ever use mineral spirits as it will cloud Damar and other natural resins.

Gallery Varnish is a final picture varnish that, when properly applied, produces a finish that is deep and lustrous but not overly glossy. Made from both Damar and Mastic varnishes, mixed in the ideal proportions, Studio Products Gallery Varnish combines the best qualities of both with few of the less desirable qualities like darkening and cracking. Studio Products adds a small quantity of a dispersant to keep both resins in suspension (they tend to settle out). Gallery Varnish is best applied slightly warm, onto a canvas that has been warmed. This is not totally necessary but it is the ideal. A generous coating is applied and the brush wiped dry and used to pick up the excess varnish. The brush is repeatedly wiped dry and the process continues until a slight drag happens. At that point, switch to a dry, soft brush and lick the varnish out until the dragging is quite noticeable. The surface will be disturbed enough to produce a soft sheen upon drying. Years later, when the varnish needs to be removed for cleaning, it can be dissolved away easily with turpentine. There is no damage to the underlying paint. Applied properly, this bottle contains enough to easily cover a six-foot by six-foot canvas.

Gesso Mix [1lb. bag] simply mix equal amounts of water and powder, wait a few hours for it to gel and then warm it until it is liquid enough to apply with a brush. After using acrylic "gesso" you'll be amazed at how much better real gesso is.

Glazing Medium [2oz jar] a thick medium made especially for glazing with full-bodied paints, not thin washes. This is the third medium in our 3-part painting system and the effect it produces is of brilliant paint and solidity, not a thinly tinted photograph. A thin layer of glazing medium is rubbed into the area to be glazed. Then a small amount of the glazing medium is mixed with the paint and it is applied heavily. The glazes are then carefully reduced with dry brushes, fingers and rags. The control it gives is astonishing. Made with heat-bodied oil and a small amount of Canada Balsam to prevent beading, this medium contains lead and should be used with
intelligence. Grisaille Kit corresponds exactly to the Munsell Neutral Gray Scale. As grisailles are used for underpainting, these paints have been formulated to be smoother to leave less texture. Brush texture in your underpaint can present problems when you glaze. This set of matched grays is formulated to be extra soft, buttery and capable of producing very fine detail with no dilution. They are ground from a naturally neutral “reference” bone black, so there will be shifting to the cool or warm.

Liquid Lead Dryer [1oz bottle] contains 24% lead and must be used with intelligence. Add a few drops to paint and mediums to speed up drying and improve the strength and flexibility of the dried paint film. This is a professional product and should not be compared with the cobalt and Japan driers offered to artists. Liquid lead dries the paint from within and does not form a blister skin, as other driers do.
Maroger's Medium [5oz. bottle of Black Oil & 5oz. bottle of Double Mastic] one of our best selling products ... and rightly so. Maroger's medium imparts fantastic handling qualities, quick drying and a flexible surface. Contains lead and should be used with intelligence. This is an unusually well made painting medium. Mix equal parts, as you need it. The freshly mixed medium handles better than that which has been stored in a tube for . . . who knows how long? Sennelier sells 34ml for $22.46 -- that translates to $194.87 for the ten ounces Studio Products charges much, much less.
Maroger's Medium - ready-made [2oz. jar] like the above, this medium is made with Black Oil and Double Mastic mixed in a perfect proportion to form a perfect ready-to-use gel. The ready-made has all of the great qualities of the two-part Maroger's medium but in a smaller and more convenient to use form. This is the second part in our 3-medium painting system. Contains lead and should be used with intelligence.

Oil of Cloves [2oz. bottle] unsurpassed for slowing down the drying time of oil paints and added as a preservative to egg tempera. Just a few drops of Oil of Cloves and your studio is filled with the rich smell of cloves, making the air more pleasant.

Oil of Spike Lavender [5oz. bottle and 12oz. cone top can] can be used instead of turpentine. Non-toxic and adds superior handling qualities. The old masters claimed the smell improved creativity. Whether that's true or not, the smell is delightful. For people exhibiting symptoms from using turpentine, Studio Products Oil of Spike is the healthful alternative. Worth every penny in the improvement it makes in the art and the artist.

Olio Verde is a heat-bodied oil containing both lead and copper salts. Maintained in a vacuum at 125F for more than a week, the oil eventually thickens and absorbs the metals. The final result is exceptionally smooth-handling oil that dries fast and to a solid, hard finish. Studio Products has long wanted to offer this very special handling oil to our customers. Because it is so time consuming to make, Olio Verde will always be a limited production item. Olio Verde combines the handling and longevity of both lead and copper in the oil. Thin it with a high grade of turpentine or Oil of Spike.

Paints Cennini paints are as close to the paints used in past centuries as can be produced. They have extraordinary pigment load and very few amendments and no fillers. This means that they do not have the unlimited shelf life of art shop and hobby shop paints. It is reasonable to expect the paints to last several years in a closed tube, but much less if kept in a tin.

Among Studio Products' line of paints are these outstanding colors:
Naples Yellow - GENUINE this is the finest Naples Yellow pigment we have ever encountered, heavy, brilliant and smooth handling. This paint is ground in Studio Products' Special Aged Oil to add even greater handling qualities (and as an aid to permanence). Unlike the dry, gritty Naples Yellow paints that are on the market, ours is smooth, easy to handle straight from the tube and boasts an incredibly high pigment load. The weight of the tube will convince you that this is not adulterated with cheap fillers.
Van Dyck Brown - GENUINE pigment imported from Germany, this pigment is historically identical with the one to which Van Dyck gave his name. Modern processing methods have made it considerably more lightfast and permanent. A perfect neutral brown which, when mixed with white produces a slightly warm grisaille -- cooler than Raw Umber. It is impossible to duplicate in a mix. It certainly is one of the ideal underpainting and drawing colors.
Vermilion - GENUINE the rarest and costliest of all reds, genuine Vermilion made with the finest Dutch-process Mercuric sulphide. The special overtones of genuine Vermilion is impossible to duplicate with any other pigment. Because it is made with mercuric sulphide pigment, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find genuine Dutch-process Vermilion pigment. Once this is gone, there will be no more.This luxurious pigment is ground in Studio Products' Special Aged Oil for superb handling and great film strength, the depth of this pigment makes it an important addition to every portrait and still life palette.
Optical - White Studio Products has been deeply involved with the leading edge paint formulations of companies such as Mercedes-Benz, who have been formulating startling new finishes using nano-technology. Sub-microscopic optically perfect spheres of silicon are milled into the paint to raise the brilliance and Chroma of pigments. The visual effect is immediately apparent, setting nano colors apart from their non-nano brethren by causing the pigment particles to orient themselves in a less scattered configuration. This reduces the interference of the reflected light rays and boosts the power of the paint closer to that of the dry pigment.An unexpected benefit of including nanospheres has been in the increased strength of the paint film. The film is noticeably tougher and far more flexible. Thus far, we have incorporated nano-technology in our Optical White, a Zinc based mixing white. The first thing the artist notices is that colors mixed with Optical White do not lose power as they are made lighter in Value. The second things that is apparent is the unusually smooth handling...a though you are painting with tiny ball bearings.The new nano-technology is used with Studio Products Optical White and with our Black Oil/Titanium Oil Primer. This is the toughest, most crack resistant oil primer on the market.

Pre-Raphaelite Medium achieves exceptional clarity of color and razor sharp detail with this medium. This is a historically accurate replication of the best of the mediums used by those painters. Rub a thin layer onto the surface of the painting and add a few drops to your paint. The paint stays where it is put and the finest lines will not bleed. Colors stay bright, dry quickly and handles with smoothness and precision. Contains a small amount of lead. One of Studio Products most popular mediums.

Rabbitskin Glue - Claro [1 pound bag] imported from Portugal and made from rabbit's skins, not calf-skin trimmings. Spray dried, this is the finest … bar none. Mix 1 part Studio Products Claro rabbitskin glue to 11 parts water. Allow it to swell and absorb the water for a few hours. Heat in a water-bath until it becomes liquid and apply to raw canvas, panels or board before priming. Mix with linseed oil for a glue-emulsion paint that dries quickly and is the perfect lean underpainting for subsequent layers of oil paint. For our step-by-step guide, Click Here and learn to be your own expert at making and applying rabbitskin glue.

Roberson's Medium #22 is our 22nd and final formula in a line of variations on what is basically a mix of a Maroger-like base with pure Congo copal. It is a soft, pale amber gel that has exceedingly smooth handling and dries to a rich finish.

Silverpoint Ground a new formula that is ready-made. Just shake, pour and brush out and it will be ready within 30 minutes. This ground is silky smooth and does not drag or bind the silverpoint tool. Comes in four traditional pale colors. Use a single thin coat to prevent flaking.

Silverpoint Tool manufactured to Studio Products’ own design. Perfectly balanced, this tool will last a lifetime. Anodized barrel and comfortable powder-coated grip securely holds silver, gold, copper and platinum rods. Comes with a Sterling silver rod and a copper rod in a rosewood box that will last a lifetime. Silver and copper replacement rods are sold separately.

Special Aged Oil [12 ounce bottle] raw linseed oil contains a number of substances that can weaken and degrade the paint. In making Special Aged linseed oil, drums of the oil are kept at a constant temperature for long periods of time, constantly tended and sprayed, encouraging them to cast off these impurities. The impurities (mucilage, albumin, gelatins) are periodically drained off until the oil clears. This oil has superior wetability and mixes with dry pigment much more easily that raw oil, producing a smoother paint. Special Aged Oil is also the choice for making heated-oil varnishes. Studio Products Special Aged Linseed Oil is superior in every way and very economical to use as your regular easel oil. As with all artist’s materials, painting oils are a small market and we use materials made for other industries. Studio Products Special Aged Oil is the only oil…I repeat that, the only oil made specifically for use in grinding with pigment. Most other oils are made for cooking or industrial lubricants.

Spray Medium Kit [12 oz metal bottle with well made metal fine mist sprayer] a modern take on an old master's technique and another Studio Products exclusive. Spray a thin coating of medium on your canvas and block in the shapes, softening with a fan brush. Allow that to dry then spray another layer and begin to add more shape, softening again. By the third day you'll be able to add sharper detail. The secret to hyperrealism is in the soft edges with very few hard edges. See complete details online or get the step-by-step video demonstration.

Stand Oil [12 ounce bottle] exceptionally light-colored and as thick as honey, Stand Oil is the most important oil to keep on the palette. Stand Oil is made in a vacuum kettle that is heated to 550F for several hours. Molecular changes take place. Nothing is added or lost but the structure of the oil is radically altered. The resulting thick oil is the least likely to darken of all oils. Stand Oil is less likely to darken and crack than raw oil and cold-pressed oil. It dries to an enamel-like sheen and gently fuses the paint into smooth transitions. Should be diluted with turpentine or Oil of Spike to a workable consistency. Should be on every artist's materials list.

Titanium & Black Oil Primer formulated with optically pure nanospheres for more brightness and much improved resistance to cracking, the use of Black Oil insures a trouble-free surface. This primer is a bright white that dries to touch over a weekend and cures quickly. Neither too absorbent (like acrylic primer) nor too slick, the dried surface accepts paint beautifully. Studio Products is expanding its use of nanospheres in paint making. These are sub-microscopic clear silicon spheres that help reflect light and also produce a much tougher paint film.

Titanium Oxide [1lb. bag] the most opaque white pigment with great covering strength. Mixed 1 part with 4 parts Whiting and stirred into hot Rabbitskin glue produces an easy-to-apply gesso that needs far fewer coats than gesso made with Whiting alone.

Turpentine, TRIPLE DISTILLED traditionally made vat-distilled gum turpentine, distilled three times to remove most of the resinous material (less than 1% remains) at gentle heat. Studio Products Triple Distilled Turpentine mixes well with oils and all oil mediums (even alkyds) and makes clear Damar and mastic varnish, with no or little smell in the studio. Steam is not used and, as a result our Gum Turpentine contains no water. Gum Turpentine draws in atmospheric oxygen, causing the paint film to dry thoroughly and not form a skin of dried paint over soft paint, as happens with mineral spirits such as Grumtine, Turpenoid, Gamsol and other petroleum-based products.This is the same grade of turpentine used in the cosmetics industry.

Ugly Dog Brush Soap [4 ounces] Our top seller. There is nothing like this 100% linseed oil soap. At Studio Products, this is the soap we use to clean our own brushes and keep them in top shape for years. Made with pure linseed oil and balsams, Ugly Dog Brush Soap retains 100% of its natural glycerin (glycerin is removed from commercial soaps). The resulting soap removes all the paint from your brushes without drying them out (as commercial soap and detergents will) and does not soften the adhesive holding the hairs in the ferrule - no more loose hairs stuck in the wet paint. Just wash, rinse, wipe and allow to air dry. The bristles actually begin to shine and take on a new liveliness. Start with new brushes and they continue to improve. Helps bristles to retain their flags. For bristle and sable oil brushes only.

Ugly Dog - Painter's Safety Soap made with de-ionized water to attract and remove dangerous metallic pigments such as lead and cadmium. A skin-softening gel made especially for painters. 6 ounces. Some artists use it as a super-cleaning brush soap.

Underpainting Medium [2oz jar] the first part of our 3-part painting system. Originally known as Studio Products Base #9, this allows you to lay in a fast drying underpainting with real paint, not a thin wash of paint. This is the ideal medium in that it is very lean, contains almost no oil and contains lead to aid in drying and longevity. Can be used as is or diluted with Oil of Spike, Studio Solvent or mineral spirits to produce paint that will handle very smoothly but dry in just a few hours. Dries to a semi-matte finish that's perfect for accepting subsequent coats of paint. Some painters buffer this medium with Maroger's medium to extend the open time and change the handling characteristics. Because Studio Products Underpainting Medium contains lead, it should be used with intelligence.

Wax Medium [16oz. tin] a combination of beeswax and natural resins, this was the wonder medium of the 15th century and it's still a good choice. Added to your paint, it improves handling and dries quickly to a soft matte sheen. For outdoor painters, the addition of wax medium is unsurpassed because it allows the painter to overlay layers of paint without smearing the underlying layers. Wax is probably the most permanent of all painting mediums.

Whiting [1lb. bag] this natural white pigment is made from white marble ground as fine as talcum powder. Mixed with rabbitskin glue, this finely ground Whiting makes a gesso that is as smooth as ivory. Whiting does not have the covering power of a more opaque pigment, so Studio Products recommends you add up to 20% Titanium Oxide to make your gesso more opaque and a brighter white. Titanium Oxide is a brittle pigment and Studio Products does not recommend it as a main ingredient in gesso.

Zinc Oxide [1lb. bag] this is the most commonly used 'mixing white' because it is not so opaque as to dominate other colors in a mixture, as Titanium is known to do. Every artist should have a variety of white pigments to choose from and Zinc Oxide is one of the mainstays in the artist's kit.